Virtutopia a pedagogical and research framework for virtual reality and gaming
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Virtutopia: A Pedagogical and Research Framework for Virtual Reality and Gaming. Robert W. Lindeman [email protected] Virtutopia Motivational Scenario.

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Virtutopia a pedagogical and research framework for virtual reality and gaming

Virtutopia: A Pedagogical and Research Framework for Virtual Reality and Gaming

Robert W. Lindeman

[email protected]


Virtutopia motivational scenario

Virtutopia Motivational Scenario

You stand in a long corridor, with many doors on either side. As you walk down the hallway, glancing at a door displays a small "teaser" about what lies beyond. One shows a medieval scene of a castle siege. Another shows the view out of the window of a space station where a new ship is being constructed. A third shows an atrium, bathed in sunlight, with pieces of animated sculpture on display. The next shows two impossibly large molecules floating near each other, spinning in a dance to find an appropriate docking site. The next shows a wildlife preserve, with flocks of birds, herds of animals, and schools of fish. Taking a deep breath, you choose a door, turn the handle, and enter a new realm.

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Okay but what is it

Okay, but what is it?!?!

  • A game engine based on a message passing architecture

  • A massive multiplayer online space

  • A distributed virtual environment

  • An exhibition space for digital artists

  • An immersive, collaborative visualization tool for natural scientists

  • A training tool for the military and medical fields

  • The framework on which any and all of these applications can be built

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Pedagogy

Pedagogy

  • It is a learning tool that allows CS and IMGD students to design and build all aspects of complex, large-scale environments that revolve around themes (a.k.a. realms)

    • Framework will be built by IMGD tech and art students, CS undergrad and grad students

    • Content will be created by IMGD art students

    • Faculty will guide and contribute

    • No need to prescribe these roles!

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Course assignments

Course Assignments

  • Modular design allows tech parts to be substituted

    • AI, rendering, user interaction

  • Content creation within the framework

  • Game design sandbox

  • Showcase for finished products

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Spacious room for qps

Spacious Room for *QPs

  • Tech

    • Clients for different devices, such as cell phones, DS-Lite, PDAs, Web

    • Scalability issues, such as number of players, number of objects

    • Networking, AI, real-time databases

  • Art

    • Character, environment, object design

    • Scripting and level design

  • Design

    • Game design for realms

  • Other

    • Sociology, economics, biology, chemistry, ECE, ...

  • Interdisciplinary projects (like we envisioned all along!)

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Research space

Research Space

  • Many interesting CS research issues

  • Content creation/importation tools for artists

  • Advanced rendering techniques

  • Mobile gaming (graphics, networks, UI)

  • Network architectures, security, anti-cheating

  • Application areas, like bio and chemistry

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Virtutopia status mqp

Virtutopia Status: MQP

  • Five CS students (A2006 - C2007)

  • Hybrid network architecture

    • Client/server + peer to peer

  • Static object repository (OR)

    • Wikipedia for objects

  • Run-time repository (RTR)

    • Add "state" to static properties

  • PC/Mac client

  • Scripting using LUA

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Virtutopia status mqp cont

Virtutopia Status: MQP (cont.)

  • Based on "standards"

    • Client using C4 engine (WPI has site license)

      • www.c4engine.com

    • Object representation using x3d and COLLADA

      • www.web3d.org/x3d/

      • www.khronos.org/collada/

    • Scripting using LUA

      • www.lua.org

    • Underlying architecture based on message passing

      • www.qnx.com (development seat gift)

  • "Simple" demo

    • Multiplayer paddle-ball game

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Virtutopia status graduate student work

Virtutopia Status:Graduate Student Work

  • Getting object state updates from the object repository into C4

  • Getting player input from VR devices into C4

  • NSF CAREER proposal to build a next-generation VR/gaming platform around the Virtutopia concept

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Virtutopia details network architecture

Virtutopia Details:Network Architecture

  • Typical MMO servers are limited to about 2,000 simultaneous players

    • Good to combat cheating

    • Simple to implement

  • Peer-to-peer groups limited to about 32 players

  • Combine these two techniques, dynamically managing peer group membership

    • E.g., by world location

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Virtutopia details network architecture cont

Virtutopia Details:Network Architecture (cont.)

  • General Structure

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Virtutopia details object representation

Virtutopia Details:Object Representation

  • Typically, visual, audio, etc. properties are stored and represented individually for each output modality

    • Graphical vs. audio renderer

    • Behavior controller (AI)

  • Not very scalable

    • Tight coupling = monolithic

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Virtutopia details object representation cont

Virtutopia Details:Object Representation (cont.)

  • New idea:

    • Group object properties with object itself in an object repository

    • Have "managers" take care of changing and/or rendering properties

  • Example:

    • Flock of birds flying overhead

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Virtutopia details object representation cont1

Processing Entities

Main

Program

(Dispatcher)

Output

Manager

(Visual)

Filter

Manager

Object Repository

Ouput

Manager

(Sound)

Filter

Manager

Input

Manager

(Tracker)

Filter

Manager

Virtutopia Details:Object Representation (cont.)

  • General structure

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


Where to from here

Where to From Here?

  • Joint tech/art MQP teams?

    • Tool development for artists to create content for Virtutopia?

    • Next-generation of structure?

  • Networking research?

  • Animation research?

  • Grant proposals?

    • Education?

  • "Virtual WPI" open house/campus visit realm

R.W. Lindeman - WPI Dept. of Computer Science


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